Patricia Low Contemporary is delighted to present Schnuppe, a solo exhibition by Jörg Immendorff. From works dating to his Salzburg production of The Rake’s Progess to his latest bronze series Malerstamm, this show features painting and sculpture from the past ten years.
The production of these later works are actually one of the most important and interesting aspects of the work. Immendorff suffers from Lou Gherig’s disease, and thus has practically lost the use of his hands. However, more than ever, he is obsessed by picture-making.
As Kirkeby has said about him: ‘A painter who cannot use his hand, is forced to use his head’. In a way, it has forced him to return to earlier stages of his career as a performer and stage designer.
The works are him in every way, and most importantly, they all relate to him and his condition. This is why, many critics say, these later works are his best, because they have become so very personal, like Schnuppe for example.
Even the sculptures of apes carry the names of his close circle of friends and artists. Indeed artists ape; that is, they ape or copy reality. So Max is Max Beckmann, Will is Will Hogarth (a reference to his production of The Rake’s Progress in Salzburg in 1996), Blinky is Blinky Palermo and Caspar is Caspar David Friedrich (C.D. Friedrich’s dead oak tree makes its appearance in several pictures, like the large black Untitled and the beautiful small Kniefall).
When he couldn’t paint with his right hand anymore, he learned to paint with his left. In some works, like Suppengrund, Smoked Painting and Wer nicht denkt fliegt raus, appear these dots in the background. People think it relates to Polke. Not at all, it’s just that he has learned to run his hand along plastic bubble wrap in order to make this even surface; without actually having to paint each dot, he still manages to create that effect.
It is one of these incredible achievements in the late work of great painters, just like Matisse, when genius transcends the body.